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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 31, 2001

31 August 2001
WTC Head Says Tatarstan Having to Defend Its Gains
Indus Tahirov, academician and the chairman of the World Tatar Congress (WTC) Executive Committee, told �Shehri Qazan� on 29 August that Tatarstan is now having to defend the gains it made earlier after the Declaration of Sovereignty. He said that Russians are unwilling to accept the end of empire and want a strong hand to rule them and others. But he said that such attitudes will ultimately have to change or that the integrity of Russia will be at risk. At the same time, Tahirov said, Tatarstan will defend its gains and not simply surrender as some other republics have.

Tatarstan State Emblem Author Unhappy with Sovereignty Results
Rif Fakhretdinov, artist and the author of Tatarstan�s state emblem, told �Shehri Qazan� on 29 August that his hopes for the republic�s sovereignty have not been realized. He said that republic heads have not succeeded in using the opportunity for embodying sovereignty after Yeltsin told them to �take as much power as republics can swallow.� Commenting on the state emblem he designed, he said that by using a white bars, the symbol of Volga Bulgaria, he sought to show that Tatars did not create a new state but revived their old statehood.

Federal Official Says Tatarstan a Model for Russia in Education
Russian Deputy Education Minister Viktor Kovrizhnykh said on 24 August in Elmet that Tatarstan in many respects serves as a model for the whole Russia in educational sector and that its experience is used in new federal educational programs. Meanwhile, President Mintimer Shaimiev said that material conditions at higher educational institutions subordinate to federal bodies are very much worse compared to those of republic secondary educational institutions that look like �palaces.� The conference discussed computerization of education. Tatarstan�s schools are provided with one computer per 43 students while the Russian average is one PC per 500 schoolchildren.

Bairamova Concerns About Religious Education
Tatar Milli Mejlis leader Fauziya Bairamova said in �Medeni jomga� on 24 August that participants in the Islam women courses in Buguruslan of Orenburg Oblast had set up a Muslim Women�s Organization and elected her its co-chairwoman alongside Faniya Abuzyarova and Fatyma Fatkullina from Ufa, Galima Khakimova from Buguruslan and Almira Narimanova from Moscow. The organization aiming to spread and teach Islam among people who have joined the Russian Mosques Union headed by Buguruslan Muslim Central Religions Board head Ismagil Shangaraev. There were at the meeting 270 Muslim women representing 15 regions, Indonesia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Bairamova stressed that Tatars dominated both the teaching staff and those attending but she said that instruction had been in Russian because many Tatars outside Tatarstan do not speak their national language. At the same time, she noted, few Muslim mullahs are able to speak Tatar or know much about Tatar history and literature. She called on representatives of Tatar culture to help madrasahs teach secular subjects and prepare textbooks in Tatar for them.

Scholar Calls For Introduction Of Latin Tatar Script
Agdas Burkhanov, a historian residing in Moscow, told RFE/RL�s Kazan bureau on 26 August that Moscow�s efforts to prevent switching to Tatar Latin Script in Tatarstan show that Russians are afraid of the possibility that Tatars will outstrip Russians in cultural development. Another reason, he said, is that the imperial psychology cannot tolerate small nations to do anything independently.

Hasek Museum Being Set up in Bogelme
A museum devoted to Czech writer Yaroslav Hasek is being set up in Bogelme, Efir-inform reported on 27 August. Hasek, famous as the author of "The Good Solder Schweik," was assistant commandant there in 1919.

Kazan, Antalia Become Sister Cities
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhakov and Antalia Mayor Beker Kumul have announved that their cities are now sister cities, "Zaman" reported on 24 August. The two agreed that a Tatar National Center will be set up in Antalia.

Summer Islam Camp in Ivanovo Oblast Ends its Sessions
A summer Islam camp organized by the Tatar cultural-national autonomy and education bodies has completed its work in the town of Ples of Ivanovo Oblast, Tatar-inform reported on 29 August. Tatar, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Arab, and Uzbek children from Moscow, Kazan, St. Petersburg, Kostroma, and Ivanovo Oblast studied the principles of Islam, the Arab language, and Koran in the camp.

Ak Bars Bank Presents Textbooks To 56,000 First-Formers
Ak Bars Bank distributed textbooks in Tatar and Russian to 56,000 first-form schoolchildren at the beginning of the new school year, reported on 29 August. This the fifth year in a row that the bank has made this contribution to the republic's schools.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Scholars Look for Ethnic Bashkirs in Yanaul Region
"Zvezda Povolzhya" reported on 30 August that Ufa has organized a research expedition by the Moscow Institute of Ethnology to use DNA tests and other measures to locate Bashkirs among the Tatar population in the Yanaul region of Bashkortostan. Yanaul region residents have complained to the newspaper that they are "shocked by such tests because they resemble the research of fascists during World War II." And they said that the expedition appears intended to boost Bashkir figures during the upcoming national census.

Tatar Leader Says Tatar Language Studies Threatened in Durtile Schools...
Alfir, Morzasakaev, the deputy chairman of Tatar Ethnic-Cultural Autonomy in Bashkortostan, told RFE/RL on 26 August that the Ufa authorities were "Bashkirizing" Tatar schools of Durtule region. Durtile is a major Tatar region within Bashkortostan, and he said that the local population would suffer from such an approach. He invoked Russian laws on language and said that the lack of a serious Tatar movement in the republic was especially serious because republic leaders "pay no attention to Tatar public organizations."

...But Tatar Scholar Upbeat on Achievements of Last Decade
Ildus Faziltdinov, a Tatar philology faculty teacher at Bashkir State University, told RFE/RL on 27 August that celebrations of Tatarstan's sovereignty declaration anniversary on 30 August were "a common holiday for all Tatars living inside and outside Tatarstan, because in the present conditions of growing pressure from Moscow, republics like Tatarstan were a major force for Russia a true federative state." He disagreed with statements by some Bashkortostan Tatar leaders that Kazan had not given anything to them over the last ten years. He noted that the local Tatar communities now have three print outlets rather than one and that the Bashkir state publishing house regularly issues books in Tatar.

Berlin Reestablishes Ties with Ethnic Germans in Bashkortostan
Yohen Welt, the special envoy on German migrants affairs, is to visit Bashkortostan on 3-4 September in order to meet with local ethnic Germans.

Ufa Muslim Leader Speaks Out Against Bullfights in Moscow
Mufti Talgat Tajutdin, the Ufa-based leader of Muslims in Russia and the European Countries of the CIS, spokes out against bullfighting and in support of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's decision to prevent such cruelty to animals, Interfax reported on 30 August.

Bashkortostan to Issue Bonds
For the first time since the financial crisis of August 1998, Ufa has decided to issue bonds, Bashkir media reported on 30 August. Finance Minister Foat Khantimerov said that this move enjoyed the support of international bond rating agencies.

Cabinet Takes Control of Renaming Process
The republic council of ministers has issued a decree requiring local officials to use the official Russian-Bashkir geographic gazetteers as they rename streets and other locations, reporte on 30 August. All geographic locations are to have both Bashkir and Russian translations and are to be renamed entirely when it proves impossible to translate an existing name into Bashkir.

Bashkortostan's Off-Road Vehicle Project Said Successful
The Vityaz off-road vehicle produced by Bashkortostan's Agricultural Machinery Plant has attracted the interest of Chinese, British and American buyers, reported on 27 August. The vehicle is already being used in the Antarctic and in sandy areas around the Caspian Sea area.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Idel-Ural Regions Mark 60th Anniversary of German Deportations
The Perm Oblast Administration on 28 August expressed its condolences to families of Volga Germans deported from there 60 years ago, Region-Inform-Perm reported. Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel the same day visited the memorial in the location near Ukhta where Germans were shot in 1941, Region-Inform reported. And some 200 Chelyabinsk residents took part in a meeting organized by the Chelyabinsk Oblast German cultural center in the city Catholic Church to commemorate Russian Germans that became victims of repression.

Chelyabinsk Prosecutor Says People Fear Militia More than They Fear Crime
Chelyabinsk Oblast Prosecutor Anatolii Bragin said on 23 August that 37 interior bodies employees have been sued during the first half of the year compared to a total of 61 for all of 2001, Ural-press-inform reported. He said that �people often fear the militia more than organized criminality, and they have reasons for this.� He said that prosecutors are looking into unlawful activities by militia employees. And he said that "a deep crisis in the entire system of Interior Ministry bodies" rather than low salaries is the reason for militia crime.

Sumin Opposes Sale Of State-Owned Shares Of Magnitka
Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Petr Sumin on 24 August criticized plans to sell the state-owned package of shares of the Magnitogorsk group of metallurgy enterprises, Ural-press-inform reported. He said that state ownership of the shares must be preserved as an instrument for control of industrial companies of strategic importance.

Marii El President Receives Justice Ministry�s Medal
Justice Minister Yurii Chaika granted Marii El President Leonid Markelov his ministry�s highest award � the Anatolii Koni medal �For Great Contribution in Realization of State Justice Policy and Legislative Activity,� reported on 28 August referring to the ministry public relations center.

Marii El Medics Say Volzhsk Faces AIDS Epidemic
The Marii El Anti-AIDS Center said on 26 August that HIV-infection reached epidemic proportions in Volzhsk with the number of carriers having doubled since May, ITAR-TASS reported. Drug addiction is a major cause, the center said, with drug addiction having increased by 70 percent over the past three years.

Presidential Volga District Envoy Residence Becomes Federal Property
A portion of the Nizhnii Novgorod Kremlin amounting 3790 square meters has been handed over for the use of Presidential Envoy to the Volga Federal District Sergei Kirienko and his staff, reported on 24August. The premises will become a federal property.

Nizhnii Governor Manages Without Guard
Nizhnii Novgorod Governor Gennadii Khodyrev has refused to use special escort during his trips saying that �he is afraid of nobody and nothing,� ITAR-TASS reported on 23 August.

Perm Oblast Deputies Concerned About Drug Addiction Spread
Deputies of the Perm Oblast Legislative Assembly have appealed to President Vladimir Putin to set up a special force body to fight drug addiction and trafficking and to give it a status independent of other law-enforcement bodies, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 27 August.

Memorial to Mikhail Romanov Set Up in Perm Oblast
A memorial was erected in the village of Nyrob in Perm Oblast to mark 400th anniversary of the banishment of Mikhail Romanov, uncle of the first Romanov tsar by Boris Godunov, Region-Inform-Perm reported on 29 August.

A Guide to the Koran Published in Samara
A guide to the study of the Koran by Islamic scholar Minakhmat Sagirov and businessman Arsen Ramazanov has been published in Samara, the Samara information portal reported on 23 August. This is the first such book issued there in many years.

Rossel Opposes Transferring More Revenues to Moscow
Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel said on 28 August that his oblast transfers over the last two years has had to send most of its revenues to Moscow and will have to pay even more under the terms of the 2002 budget, UralBusinessConsulting reported. He said that the federal budget is a �defective� because it converts donor regions into losers.

Sverdlovsk Pioneer Organization Admits New Members
Twenty children in Nizhnyaya Salda of Sverdlovsk Oblast on 23 August were admitted to the Sverdlovsk Oblast Lenin Pioneer Organization, Region-Inform reported the next day. KPRF oblast committee secretary Vladimir Krasnolobov attended the ceremony held in Sverdlovsk�s central square near the Lenin monument. Krasnolobov said that the oblast pioneer organization that now has some 600 members aims to prevent children from negative influenes and to inspire in them the spirit of patriotism, discipline, and love of labor.

Germans in Tyumen Taught Free-Of-Charge
Russian Germans residing in Tyumen Oblast are provided with free instruction in office-work, book-keeping, computers and the German language, �Tyumenskaya liniya� reported on 24 August. The project is promoted by the local Znaniye society at the financial support from Germany.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova